Making an even bigger difference

September 1, 2011

As World Sight Day 2011 approaches we speak with Dr Gullapalli Nag Rao, founder of LV Prasad Eye Institute, on what it means, what has already been achieved and what we can do to continue to be part of the solution.

Q. What is the meaning of World Sight Day (international day of awareness for VISION 2020: The Right to Sight)?

To me, it is a day on which the everyone working within eyecare, from prevention to rehabilitation, rededicate themselves to their work to make an even bigger difference the following year. This is also the day that we try to bring the issues surrounding blindness and vision impairment to the forefront of policy makers, philanthropists, people that matter and the public's mind in an effort to make a difference to the lives of millions.

Q. What does VISION 2020 mean to you?

Q. How is it relevant to your work at the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI)?

A lot of the work LVPEI has been doing for over 25 years has been similar to VISION 2020's priorities and the compatibility of objectives makes the relationship very unique.

At LVPEI we have assisted with VISION 2020 goals by helping initiate not only a national entity for the organization in India but also initiating the first state level VISION 2020 entity globally, "Andhra Pradesh Right to Sight Society", with a governmental budget of $20 million over five years. We have also trained thousands of eyecare personnel throughout all cadres in a global capacity, assisted in building a few hundred hospitals and many training centres, helped in research capcity building, participated in WHO training and research activities and played a pivotal role in advocacy efforts and resource mobilization at state, national and global levels.

In addition to this, we have been a global resource centre for the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and the Secretariat and global headquarters for the organization for many years.

Q. How is the IAPB General Assembly important to blindness prevention?

This is the only forum where all people from all cadres of eyecare profession globally come together and share their experiences and expertise. This helps to foster better and bigger collaborations and networks.

Q. What is meant by the 9GA theme?

It is very clear that in the second decade of VISION 2020, we begin to also address the 'Causes of Causes' of blindness and for that, engagement with other sectors outside eyecare is crucial. It is also important to become actively involved in other disease, disability and development groups.

Q. Who is expected to attend?

People from all cadres of eyecare from prevention of blindness to rehabilitation, development, other disabilities and from NGO, government, corporate and private sectors.